Risk Management Tools & Resources

 


Assessing Diagnosis-Related Allegations in Otolaryngology Claims: The Complexities of Clinical Reasoning

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

otolaryngology-diagnostic-errors

Diagnostic errors are a persistent issue in healthcare, and they are top liability risk for many medical specialties. A review of 10 years of closed claims data for otolaryngology shows that diagnosis-related allegations account for almost 1 in 5 claims.1

Although the volume of diagnosis-related claims is significantly lower than the volume of claims for the top allegation category — procedural performance, which accounts for almost half of all otolaryngology claims — these cases still can be consequential in terms of poor patient outcomes and total dollars paid (i.e., expense and indemnity dollars).

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Bridging the Digital Divide: Creating a Personalized Telehealth Experience

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

bridging-digital-divide-telehealth

Technology advances over the past decades have taken telehealth from a novel concept to a widespread reality. In the several years prior to 2020, the adoption of telehealth was growing steadily — but not staggeringly — in healthcare practices and hospitals.1

Within months of the turn of the new decade, telehealth received a sudden, albeit somber, boost. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic magnified the importance of telehealth as a vital component of patient care when many healthcare practices and facilities closed their doors to nonemergency treatment in an effort to stem the disease outbreak. In the wake of COVID-19, many healthcare experts and leaders speculate that telehealth will continue to flourish and offer viable options for receiving and delivering remote care and treatment.

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Administrative Strategies for Preventing the Transmission of Infectious Diseases

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

Administrative Strategies for Preventing the Transmission of Infectious Diseases

Individuals in the healthcare community have long considered infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies critical to patient safety, worker safety, and overall public health. The criticality of these measures is even more pronounced in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for potential future infectious disease outbreaks.

Often, IPC efforts focus on following standard precautions and transmission-based precautions, appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), sterilizing and disinfecting reusable equipment, using safe injection techniques, and implementing practices that support antibiotic stewardship.

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Strategies for Disclosing an Unanticipated Outcome

Strategies for Disclosing an Unanticipated Outcome

Disclosing an unanticipated outcome to a patient and/or their family members can be daunting and stressful. Healthcare providers may worry about the possibility of litigation, damage to their reputations, workplace consequences, or even just upsetting patients/families.

In recent years, however, many professional associations and organizations have endorsed the concept of disclosure as part of patient-centered care, and studies show that communication-and-response techniques that include early disclosure may reduce malpractice suits and litigation costs.1

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10 Strategies for Communicating Effectively With Senior Care Residents

Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

effective-communication-senior-care-residents

The question of how to communicate effectively has persisted in healthcare for years. Communication has long been recognized as a complex process that is prone to errors, oversights, and misunderstandings. In terms of patient safety and malpractice risk, the implications of inadequate or poor communication are substantial.

In 2018, CRICO Strategies released a report that presented the results from an analysis of almost 124,000 medical professional liability cases filed between 2007 and 2016. CRICO's data showed that communication issues, which were found in all care settings, were one of the top contributing factors in malpractice cases.1 An earlier CRICO report found that 37 percent of all high-severity cases involved a communication failure.2

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Avoiding Social Media Blunders With Proactive Risk Management Policies

Without doubt, social media’s ease, flexibility, and convenience offer various opportunities to enhance the dissemination of health information and communication between patients and healthcare providers. Like any type of technology, though, social media can create safety and risk issues if it is not used responsibly. Further, because social media changes rapidly, standards and best practices are not always well-defined.

Consider the following three case examples that illustrate how communicating with patients, or about patients, on social media can be problematic.

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Case Study: Failure to Diagnose Myocardial Infarction Leads to Tragic Outcome

A 47-year-old female presented to her local emergency department (ED) on a Saturday evening with complaints of shoulder discomfort, back pain, nausea, dizziness, and chest tightness. The woman reported that she had spent the morning working in her garden and then attended a family cookout.

An ECG was ordered, and the results were negative. The patient was not referred for further cardiac testing because the emergency physician felt that muscle strain and acid reflux were the cause of the patient's symptoms.

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15 Tips for Reducing Risks Related to Medical Spa and Cosmetic Services

Medical aesthetics is a growing and lucrative industry, and the global medical spa (medi-spa) market is projected to reach about $27.6 million by 2025.1 Various types of healthcare providers are offering spa and cosmetic services at dedicated medi-spas or as ancillary services in healthcare practices. Services are wide-ranging and include botulinum toxin injections, chemical peels, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, liposuction, dermal fillers, skin rejuvenation, microblading, body contouring, and more.

The appeal of providing spa and cosmetic services can be multifold for healthcare providers. With rising overhead costs, decreased reimbursement, and increased administrative burdens, these services can boost profitability and potentially allow practitioners to spend more time with patients. The addition of spa and cosmetic services also can increase patient satisfaction, particularly for patients who enjoy the convenience of multiple services at one location or who prefer to have their healthcare providers render such services. Additionally, providers may find it fulfilling to learn new techniques and broaden their scopes of practice.

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